Mumps is a highly infectious viral disease that occurs throughout the world and is transmitted by sneezing, coughing or direct contact with respiratory secretions.

The Illness

Mumps is characterised by fever, swelling and tenderness of one or more of the parotid glands. The parotid glands are responsible for producing saliva and are located on either side of the face, just below the ears.


There is no specific treatment available.

Recommendations for Travellers

This disease is still common in much of Asia, Africa, the Indian sub-continent and South America. More recently there have been outbreaks of mumps in many developed countries such as the US, Australia and several European countries including Spain and the UK. The risk is greater when living or working with local people or travelling for large gatherings (e.g. sporting and music events).

The two vaccines that protect against mumps are combined with measles and rubella (MMR). Currently used vaccines in the UK are: M-M-RVAXPRO and Priorix. MMR vaccine is usually given to children as part of the national childhood schedule, in infancy and prior to starting school. Two doses of vaccine give long-lasting protection against all three diseases.

Individuals should ensure that they have received two doses of MMR prior to travel to areas where the risk of mumps is high. Those who were born between 1980 and 1990 may not have received two doses of MMR vaccine. Individuals born between this time should check with their GP to ensure that they have received vaccination. Prior infection with mumps will provide lifelong immunity against that particular disease.

Book your travel clinic appointment today to find out whether it is necessary for your travels.

©Information courtesy of Fit for Travel – a public access website provided by the NHS (Scotland)